Four-time world champion Vettel ignored team orders to allow Ricciardo through at the halfway stage of the 56-lap race at the Shanghai International Circuit.
The Australian had the pace to eventually pass Vettel and finish one place ahead of his colleague in fourth, but the German's comments on team radio showed his frustration with how things transpired.
Ricciardo, though, stressed that he wants to maintain a healthy relationship within the Red Bull camp.
"I was not aware of what he was saying during the race," he told reporters. "I wasn't sure what strategy we were both on but I got past. I don't want to start any conflicts."
Lewis Hamilton led from start to finish in China to win his third consecutive race.